Summer temperatures are high and rising, so it’s important to take the threat of heat-related illnesses seriously. And while that’s true for everyone, it’s especially important for landscapers, who spend their days doing strenuous work in the hot sun.
By knowing the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion – and making sure your coworkers know them, too – you can act quickly and possibly save a life or prevent a serious medical condition.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness and medical attention is required immediately. Confusion, fainting, seizures, extremely high body temperature and hot, dry skin or profuse sweating are all symptoms of heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion are headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst and heavy sweating. Other heat-related illnesses include heat rash and heat fatigue, which are less serious but still signs of too much exposure.
If a coworker is experiencing any of these symptoms, move that person to a shaded area and allow him to drink water a little at a time. You can also cool him down with ice packs or cool water.
To prevent heat-related illness, remember these three things: water, rest and shade. Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you aren’t thirsty. Rest in the shade to cool down.
Wear light-colored clothing and a hat. Allow your body to acclimate to the heat. Keep an eye on coworkers and call 911 in an emergency.
If you have questions, call the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at 1-800-321-6742 or visit www.osha.gov to learn more about your rights and staying healthy in the workplace.